Chino

Josh stumbled from the blinding summer day through the door in the dark room and waved around for a light switch. He saw a newborn sleeping in the corner momentarily, conserving energy for its next screeching fit. Tin foil, baking soda, and liquor bottles littered the should’ve-been-replaced-long-ago carpet. There was a leg sticking out of a doorway and Josh wondered briefly where the other leg was. There was a moaning in another room, but josh ignored this too. He wasn’t there to save the newborn, but he figured by doing so he could spin this situation such that he wasn’t a complete bad guy.

He clutched his nine millimeter in his left hand, choking up on the grip. People in the movies think that there is some ritual the killer must do for the person about to be murdered, but in reality the ritual is for the killer to prepare them for the act that one never gets accustomed to. The ultimate rush that comes with draining your soul. He took a deep breath and said his mantra that got him through doing things like this. Josh was disappointed that the door was open to the room with his target (he had imagined he would have to kick one down) so he simply whacked the wall as he entered. The scrawny, writhing putrid white bodies were locked in an act that one would hardly call love-making. The couple cursed when he whacked the wall and they fell off the soiled mattress in surprise. They were whiter than the mattress, but not because they were scared, mostly because they hadn’t seen the sun much and the mattress had seen way more than it deserved to. Josh stepped up to the man with his gun raised to his head and for a minute, no one said anything. “Godamnit,” Josh finally sighed. The man began to plead pathetically then get angry, lashing out in his futile last breaths. Josh was frustrated. These two were a waste of good bullets. But the man was beginning to piss him off. WAP! The woman’s purple brains oozed down the wall. Shit. He forgot about the baby, who had a good set of little lungs, apparently.

Josh watched the man’s face turn to horror and grief and Josh smashed his head with the gun. Josh always appreciated getting a small workout in however he could and this guy took a while to die. The cops didn’t come quickly if at all to this Southern California neighborhood, but the baby could potentially attract attention. Josh wondered what he could fashion to swath the child in before he brought it to a fire station. As he searched the decrepit furniture for sheets or something he heard a click. The click of a gun racking. He rolled to the side and raised his gun. “Trevor?”

“Been a while, J.”

“I didn’t hurt them.”

“Fuck off. As if I don’t have 20 other reasons to kill you.” In Josh’s line of work, one made enemies every day and made themselves cohorts with just about each type of depraved individual. Trevor was the latter.

“What the fuck are you waiting for? You missed your best opportunity. Matter of fact you completely wasted your element of surprise.”

“It’s not our time yet, jackass.

Benmo has a job for us.” Josh wiped the sweat from his brow. Why the hell did he have to wear that leather jacket in the summer anyway. It was just too useful the way he had modified it as tactical gear. He lit a cigarette.

“You deal with that leg sticking out?” Trevor didn’t reply but simply wiped blood from his knife in his other hand on his pants.

“And the kid?”

“There isn’t time for that shit. Make your call and act fast.”

Josh grabbed tablecloth from the kitchen and swaddled and carried the child out into the relentless sun.

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The Outside

Lewis stood up, wincing against the wind though it was just a breeze. He looked up and the sight of the stars baffled him. It had been…he wasn’t even sure, but they were gorgeous emblems of freedom each one. His bare feet smacked the pavement as he ran into the night away from the compound. Suddenly a light rushed toward him growing larger than life. BEEEEEEP! The light shifted abruptly and the motorcycle rider cursed him. His first interaction with someone on the outside–he just laughed at the cursing. It was wonderful to hear the voice of a stranger.

He crossed through trees and over streets for what seemed a small eternity. Things began to grow louder. Lewis became conscious he was nearing a downtown area. He realized he was still wearing the pale blue scrubs he’d been issued at the compound. He’d need clothes. He could buy some. But with what? How was he supposed to earn money? A group of youths began staring at him and whispering among themselves. Should he..? He called to the group, “Hello!” They ran away as if he were chasing them.

Lewis realized almost everything was closed for business at this point anyway. He watched his shadow swing from front to back as he walked under the street lights. He was beginning to get hungry from his efforts and though it wasn’t particularly cold, his discomfort grew by the minute. He saw a clothing store and thought about breaking in. Instead he went around the back and the dumpster caught his eye. Maybe there was something in there he could use. But it was locked. He remembered how pathetic the world was such that someone had decided it necessary to lock up the refuse. On closer inspection, the plastic cover was beginning to crack. Lewis seized a pallet on the ground nearby and with all his strength, which wasn’t much after being confined to that room for so long, heaved it at the dumpster cover. The crack split open wide. Adjusting to the feeling of the ill-fitting pants and torn shirt, Lewis began to rack his brain over where would be the warmest place to hunker down for the remainder of the night. Now a car came down the street and Lewis instinctively hid behind a bus stop. The car’s side read “polizia” and it dawned on Lewis that he was outside his home country. Great. 

To be continued.

The Room

Lewis felt the need to run, though he hadn’t done anything wrong. He felt out of place moreso than regularly and the harsh lighting made him squirm. The questions being asked him were absurd at worst and annoying at best. The penalty for failing to answer was more time alone–unbearable to him at this point.

The room they sent him to was empty except for one chair and one of its walls was a mirror. He knew that this was a one-way mirror. They would provide choices for him. One day they brought in a child. Then they gave the child a meal when they hadn’t given Lewis a meal in three days–at least he imagined it was three days, but one couldn’t be sure in there. Lewis found himself taking the bread and a piece of chicken, while leaving the child the majority of the meal. The child wouldn’t speak. Lewis wondered how long they had kept the child without food for. He wondered if it could speak or was just too terrified to do so. The child would scratch at its face periodically and Lewis could see a rash forming on it. Was she allergic to something in the food? It was clear the child knew nothing more than Lewis did, she even seemed to be perplexed by the food, though she did eat some. She devoured the peaches quite quickly and licked her fingers. There was no camaraderie between them as one would expect between two people stuck in a situation together. They hardly acknowledged each other, both assuming the other had done something wrong to be put here. Lewis eventually realized he had been hogging the chair, and gently pushed it to the child’s side of the room near the knob-less door. The child ignored it. Lewis fell asleep watching the child scratch her face. When he awakened, the child had disappeared. Despite their relative lack of interaction, Lewis found himself missing the child. She was kind of cute with those pig tails.

Every once in a great while, they provided Lewis with a pen and paper. They looked dispassionate in their masks and gowns, like surgeons disinterested in the outcome of the surgery they were performing. But was this surgery, or was it something more obtuse, more crude? Was there a great mind engineering the experiments or a simple one? Lewis couldn’t decide. Again they released him to the interview room. They wanted to know why he hadn’t taken the entire meal for himself. They typed analyses of his responses furiously into their devices. Today there was a third one, an observer. Was this third person a supervisor or a student? They did not carry a device. The gowns obscured the features of the scientists such that Lewis couldn’t determine their sex. Not that it mattered, Lewis had lost his sex-drive long ago and the scientists could attest to that given some of the experiments they had performed. Lewis’ emotional numbness had come over him slowly after weeks of despair and futility eroded this capacity away. Lewis did still dream about the outside however. But the dreams were becoming more and more abstract. As though the mental picture was losing degrees of resolution each day.

He had come to expect the unexpected. He wondered if they would ever provide him a weapon, intentionally or not, with which he could put an end to their experimentation–at least with him as the subject. He knew he would never be able to escape the complex by other means. The chair could not break the mirror wall, he had tried. Little did he know that one of the scientists suddenly sympathized with him and decided to sneak him out, but was this yet another, be it unsanctioned, experiment?

Lewis was awakened. He could tell it was in the middle of his sleep cycle and thought to himself that this was the beginning of a particularly cruel experiment. But something was different. The door swung open and a flashlight shone into his eyes. A hand grabbed his and pulled him to his feet. The other hand ushered him into a wheeled bin full of soiled laundry. He let it happen. After long hallways and elevator rides and a seemingly endless series of turns, Lewis’ bin was pushed into a cold room. He arose out of the laundry. It was no room. He was out. He felt the wind and it scared him, he had forgotten it existed.

To Be Continued?

 

Desert Rendezvous (a parody)

Angela was glad Juanita had insisted she come out; it was nice to sit and chat with the gals over a few cocktails. After last call, she said goodbye to her friends and strode out of the smoky bar and into the parking lot. Her eyes scanned the star speckled sky and the cacti dotted landscape. She opened the door of her navy blue Honda Accord and slid in. She fished through her CDs looking for something besides country albums, and settled on a 60s rock mix. She shimmied the key into the ignition and twisted. The desert pseudo-silence grew louder, crickets taunting her. “Damnit,” she grumbled. She cranked it net time for seven seconds and nothing happened. After rinsing and repeating a few times, she groaned and slammed her door on the way out. She swept the parking lot and was surprised to find that she was the last person to leave. She searched the web for the AAA number and called.

“yeah. The Rattlesnake Tavern… yes 505…” She impatiently thumbed through a Reader’s Digest, taking advantage of the dome light still functioning. As she began to decide going out was a mistake after all, an unmistakable glint of headlights in her rearview mirror snapped her back to the moment. Angela began to script what she should tell this stranger, thinking how big of an idiot she was going to look like driving a car with a bad starter. She shivered, but not from cold. Oh well, here she was, the damsel in distress. She decided to embrace the role. Gravel crackled under the truck’s tires as it approached. She studied her exhausted countenance and now unflattering makeup in the visor mirror. He’s just a truck driver–I don’t want to look too good for him anyway. He slowly and deftly maneuvered the rid next to her car and stepped down from the truck. Some boots, ha. She never knew what to make of a man in fancy boots–neither the boots nor the cocky attitude wearers impressed her. The driver was a hair over six feet, built like a baseball player. She stole a peak at his rear end before he turned around.

“How do you do, miss?” I’m Marco with Spare Tire Towing,” his warm voice put Angela at ease like a friend’s hand on her shoulder.

“Hello…Marco. I’m Angela,” she managed to squeak out as they awkwardly shook hands.

“What’s a-matter with the car?

She swept her bangs out of her eyes and replied, “Oh uh, I don’t know exactly…it was running fine earlier tonight and I thought it would be okay…”

“Are your lights working?”

“Yup–yes.”

He frowned. “Bad starter. Gotta tow it.”

“I would’ve been able to jump it if it was the battery” she claimed, trying to impress him.

He looked around. “From wh-” he started to inquire then thought better of it. He linked up the car and wenched it up onto the platform. “Where to?”

“You know I appreciate you coming out here in the middle of the night like this to help me, you look like you just woke up.”

“Thanks,” he rubbed his eyes and chuckled.

“What I mean to say is…do you wanna go watch the sunrise together on the ridge?”

He was unprepared for this question and it hung in the air for a solid moment.

“Uhh…well I guess…I mean… sure.” He grinned and took her hand, helping her into the truck.

The tow truck lazily crawled up the road to the top of the ridgeline just as the golden disc of the sun began to peak over the horizon. She scooted over to him and lay her head on his shoulder. Half the sky was as colorful as a rainbow as the brilliance of the scene began to blind them. The cacti cast long shadows and a hungry coyote chased a clever rabbit through the brush. The pair in the truck held hands and exchanged increasingly bolder glances. Marco opened his mouth to speak and hesitated, “Angela…this is nice,” he leaned in and kissed her. Her lips met his eagerly. Then they trembled as she slowly exhaled and glided her fingers down his chest. He came to her again, gently brushing aside her hair, when her wig fell off! She gasped and shifted away, clutching the hairpiece. He gently seized her chin to raise her head. She hesitantly looked up and to her surprise, he tipped back his cowboy hat, revealing his own stark baldness. He was bald as a baked potato except he had sideburns. She gasped, this time in delight, and pulled him to her. They locked lips and he caressed her back and squeezed her breast gently. She stopped him, “Wait…have you watched the t.v. series Shaft?”

“The whole season, why?”

“Good,” she indignantly blurted and then pulled him over again. She slid her hand up his thigh. She rubbed his crotch and began unbuttoning her blouse, when he stopped her and ripped it open, roaring like a lion…only to see she was wearing an undershirt. She gracefully removed this, except for the fact that she elbowed him in the nose as she did. She pouted about the shirt, “My aunt Luna made that for me!” He hastily apologized. One palm on his now-bleeding nose, he unzipped her skirt and gently massaged her. She moaned and wiggled her drawers off. He popped open the glove box and pulled out limited edition Tiger Woods Hole-In-One® condoms. He eased inside her and she pleaded, “Marco!” He flicked her nipple and kissed her neck loudly. She pulled him into her, grasping his buttocks harder with each passionate thrust.

I thought love was only true in fairy tales…” Marco sang softly.

“Or for someone else, but not for me,” she continued. They found a physical rhythm with the tune and grunted with pleasure. They interlocked fingers and he tripled the pace without warning and she panted like a race dog. “Oh, Marco!” She bit her hand. “John…Jacob…Jingleheimer…SMITH!” She burst. Marco’s head reared back and his eyes squinted shut.

“Ah-ah-achoooo!” He sneezed powerfully right in Angela’s face. He sloppily cleaned her off with his forearm, and mumbled, “Sorry,” grinning sheepishly.

She slapped him. “Don’t Stop!” She scolded impatiently. He resumed as adoringly as before, kissing her collar bone and driving deep. This went on for another twenty minutes until she finally felt his hot breath on her neck. They smirked at each other as they dressed.

As Angela waved goodbye as he dropped her off, she hoped he would dial the number she had written carefully on the back of his hand.

Goombatah ch 1 and 2

A table outside a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the city. The city that never sleeps, that breathes fire, that wallows in swaying power.

A heaping plate of hoppin john sat before Simon. A cool afternoon sprawled across them. “You cower at the prospect, Simon?!” Roger quipped.

Simon mustered a low, grumbling laugh. He wiped the corner of his mouth with the embroidered napkin and sighed. “Roger. I need to talk to you about something serious.”

“Go on, then,” Roger blustered.

“The dry cleaner’s. The count is short.”

“Shazzad.”

“You have some sympathy for him, or what? Get Alfio and get it done.”

“I’m on top of it, I’ve got him over there with Mikey right now. Shit. I’m a captain–I delegate.”

“As you should,” Simon reassured mockingly. “Look at your fat ass–you ordered pasta and steak and finished em both before I finished my lobster and john.”

“The fuck,” Roger chuckled. “Ho! Take it easy, I’m sensitive about it haha.”

The docks. Mikey finds Alfio on his boat, the waves rocking it steadily, with a purpose. “You fuggin bum I knew I’d find ya here. C’mon, we gotta take care of you-know-who-zzad.”

“One moment,” he pled in broken English. He grabbed a rope and tied off the boat again. “Okay. We go.”

“Wait. One mo-ment. Motherfucker. Simon says he saw you with my goomar on Tuesday.”

“Get the fuck out here–of here! Mike, I would never do this you–know you know that. Don’t insult me.”

At Regina’s of all places? Not even a club, something fun? Unbelievable.

“I-a never been to Regina’s!”

“Re-lax. I’m just breakin ya balls. Let’s go.”

“You Americans have a funny sense of humor.” They climbed into the waxed Cadillac and sped off.

Alfio and Mike arrived at the dry cleaner’s three minutes earlier than Mike had guessed due to good traffic–God’s speed for the Devil’s work. The kid at the counter was a punk. Mike flexed and made him shrink and they pushed past him into the office. Behind the counter was Shazzad being felated by an Indian floozy. He looked up and frantically stammered “Oh no no no! I paid.”

Alfio grabbed him by the shirt collar and lifted him up, then kneed him in the testicles. Shazzad yelped, “Motherfucker!” and fell to the ground like a dusty sack of green potatoes. Mike picked him up and slammed him on the desk. Shazzad squirmed helplessly. He was about to punch Shazzad when he paused. He noticed a lego set on a bookcase. “What the fuck hahaha” Mike yucked. Alfio, grab some of those lego men. Alfio did so and tossed them one by one as they entered Shazzad’s nose and he bled significantly. “You’re too old to play with toys. You’re too old not to pay the vig.”

Vig? What Vig? Shazzad coughed. “I’m Muslim”

“Well we ain’t. So fuck you!” Alfio chopped at Shazzad’s kneck as Mike reached into the safe behind the desk and pocket fistfuls of stacked bills. Alfio inquired half seriously, “What do we do with this…cocksucker?”

“Leave her. She’s ob-vi-ously suff-ered enough,” Mike explained laughing. They disappeared into the night, leaving the neon sign lit in their rear view mirror.

Goombatah ch 1 and 2

A table outside a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the city. The city that never sleeps, that breathes fire, that wallows in swaying power.

A heaping plate of hoppin john sat before Simon. A cool afternoon sprawled across them. “You cower at the prospect, Simon?!” Roger quipped.

Simon mustered a low, grumbling laugh. He wiped the corner of his mouth with the embroidered napkin and sighed. “Roger. I need to talk to you about something serious.”

“Go on, then,” Roger blustered.

“The dry cleaner’s. The count is short.”

“Shazzad.”

“You have some sympathy for him, or what? Get Alfio and get it done.”

“I’m on top of it, I’ve got him over there with Mikey right now. Shit. I’m a captain–I delegate.”

“As you should,” Simon reassured mockingly. “Look at your fat ass–you ordered pasta and steak and finished em both before I finished my lobster and john.”

“The fuck,” Roger chuckled. “Ho! Take it easy, I’m sensitive about it haha.”

The docks. Mikey finds Alfio on his boat, the waves rocking it steadily, with a purpose. “You fuggin bum I knew I’d find ya here. C’mon, we gotta take care of you-know-who-zzad.”

“One moment,” he pled in broken English. He grabbed a rope and tied off the boat again. “Okay. We go.”

“Wait. One mo-ment. Motherfucker. Simon says he saw you with my goomar on Tuesday.”

“Get the fuck out here–of here! Mike, I would never do this you–know you know that. Don’t insult me.”

At Regina’s of all places? Not even a club, something fun? Unbelievable.

“I-a never been to Regina’s!”

“Re-lax. I’m just breakin ya balls. Let’s go.”

“You Americans have a funny sense of humor.” They climbed into the waxed Cadillac and sped off.

Alfio and Mike arrived at the dry cleaner’s three minutes earlier than Mike had guessed due to good traffic–God’s speed for the Devil’s work. The kid at the counter was a punk. Mike flexed and made him shrink and they pushed past him into the office. Behind the counter was Shazzad being felated by an Indian floozy. He looked up and frantically stammered “Oh no no no! I paid.”

Alfio grabbed him by the shirt collar and lifted him up, then kneed him in the testicles. Shazzad yelped, “Motherfucker!” and fell to the ground like a dusty sack of green potatoes. Mike picked him up and slammed him on the desk. Shazzad squirmed helplessly. He was about to punch Shazzad when he paused. He noticed a lego set on a bookcase. “What the fuck hahaha” Mike yucked. Alfio, grab some of those lego men. Alfio did so and tossed them one by one as they entered Shazzad’s nose and he bled significantly. “You’re too old to play with toys. You’re too old not to pay the vig.”

Vig? What Vig? Shazzad coughed. “I’m Muslim”

“Well we ain’t. So fuck you!” Alfio chopped at Shazzad’s kneck as Mike reached into the safe behind the desk and pocket fistfuls of stacked bills. Alfio inquired half seriously, “What do we do with this…cocksucker?”

“Leave her. She’s ob-vi-ously suff-ered enough,” Mike explained laughing. They disappeared into the night, leaving the neon sign lit in their rear view mirror.

Temptations ch.1

No great play or story ever began by someone deciding not to do something i.e. explore, strive, take a risk or a leap. Jon Daley decided not to eat an everything bagel. The damn poppy seeds end up everywhere. He did decide to prove to Amanda he was the right guy for her. The only problem is that of course he wasn’t. To everyone else, including Amanda, this was abundantly clear, like a cloudy day versus a typical Colorado day. But Daley was undeterred, uninhibited, and unrestricted in his pursuit of whom he assumed the Almighty had created just for him. His advances were met with cautious disregard and he scratched his head, assuming she was just playing hard to get. She had other things on her mind. She had a sick grandparent and a dead parakeet. Bills piling up and no job and she was nearly out of cigarettes to boot. Oh did I not make that clear? Everyone could see Jon shouldn’t be with Amanda because he was out of her league. Glad we cleared that up. Now, Jon really just wanted the quiet domesticity that life living with a spouse could provide if adequately maintained. He was a low-confidence man in general, and though he had immense potential, with his personality, it could never be fully realized.

Amanda’s life was a garbage can of chaos, bitterness, and ill-will. She hated people and anxiously awaited the grisly death she was sure was meant for her. She smoked her cigarettes to the filter or until they burnt her lips if they were filter-less. Sure, she dreamed of brighter days, but only when she was high. She had given up giving a fuck a lo-o-ong time ago and didn’t see the use in returning to her former giving-a-fuck ways. Her teeth were in poor shape and she itched nearly incessantly. Jon was a moderately successful mortgage broker from Queens. He grew up playing baseball and eating hot dogs like every American boy should. Amanda struck him the way she did because of this recklessness she embodied. Jon had met here one day when his car broke down and he had to walk to borrow a phone to call the tow truck and a Lyft. They nearly collided. It was raining, drops persisting to find their way to the ground for two days straight now, and she was waiting for the bus to take her to a run-down dive bar where she would find the company of cool beer, cigarette burn holes, and empty-hearted individuals with nothing better to do. He was wiping the smudged screen of his dead-batteried cell phone with his lapel when she took a step back, hearing the busses tires hissing down the street towards her and the stop.

“Sorry,” he gurgled automatically.

“Excuse you, I mean me” she offered apathetically.